I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with InStyle’s recent covers, from back-to-back ones with large blue-sky backgrounds and mediocre pictures (Demi Lovato, Cindy Crawford), to the unrecognizable Chrissy Teigen one, and a weird Julianne Moore effort in that same post. But Zendaya looked rad, and I quite liked the Amy Schumer photo as well. Photographic risks never seemed like InStyle’s jam under the old management, so I am at least pleased to see Laura Brown taking them, and many of them pay off here with Zoe. I’m not sure the newsstand cover is my top choice, but some of the subscriber ones are cool, and that’s the risk I’d love to see them take next.

However, the cover story… shudder. It’s Marisa Tomei, her godmother, interviewing Zoe. The idea is that Marisa has known Zoe for her whole life, and thus had a front-row seat for her evolution into an almost-thirty adult. It does not pay off. Marisa wastes no opportunity to mention that she’s Lisa Bonet’s best friend, manages to work in that she’s doing theatre, and actually utters this question:

MT: When you say “ancient,” it makes me think of argan oil. Are there things like oils you love to put on?

Yawn. There are no insights about Zoe’s career evolution, nor anything following up on life in her position as “cultural royalty,” as the hyperbolic intro christens her. She doesn’t even ask about Big Little Lies. Zoe brings it up, and delivers this nice bite:

ZK: I’ve met so many wonderful women, specifically my castmates on Big Little Lies. They’ve really become a support system for me, and I hope I’ve done the same for them. Before we knew we were coming back for a second season, we kept in touch—group texts and emails and stuff like that. And I’ve spoken to [co-star] Reese [Witherspoon], who’s become one of my dearest friends, about so many aspects of my life. She’s such a smart businesswoman, so I’ve sent her ideas and scripts, and she reads them and gives me feedback. It’s so amazing to have women in your life like that who are a part of the industry and who you’ve grown up watching and admiring … and now they’re giving you advice and encouraging you to continue and develop your projects, your dreams, and yourself.

That’s good sisterhood stuff right there. AT THE END. Well, just about, anyway. Surely it isn’t cheaper to hire a real writer — I cannot imagine Marisa Tomei did not receive compensation? — so why magazines continue to do this is confusing to me. The piece isn’t wretched, but it’s a little loosey-goosy and not as interesting as I think it could be. It feels like a sidebar at best, not a cover story.